S.D. sees a big spike in tourismby Cara Hetland, Minnesota Public Radio
Sioux Falls, S.D. — South Dakota saw an eight percent growth in tourism in 2007. The new numbers exceed projections from national tourism organizations.
Officials believe the growth is a combination of people staying closer to home and a cooperative marking effort that brought tourists to the state.
S.D. Gov. Mike Rounds says tourists spent $76 million more in 2007 than the year before. That is the largest single year increase ever in the tourism industry.
Rounds says every region of the state saw growth in tourism dollars.
"Literally it's not just the Black Hills, which is great news. This is growth throughout S.D., and this is a statewide industry," says Rounds.
Rounds says the money spent in the state has a $2 billion economic impact.
He predicts even more growth this year because of interest from the new Nicolas Cage movie "National Treasures," featuring S.D., and because of renewed construction at the Crazy Horse monument.